The convenience and utility of wireless charging are becoming harder to ignore. Wireless charging is convenient, just lay your phone on a pad or stand and presto, the battery sucks up the juice as if by magic, but it’s also a problem-solver. Now you can charge your phone and use wired headphones at the same time.
Wireless charging is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the transfer of power from a power outlet to the device, without the need for a connecting cable. Wireless charging involves a power transmitting pad and a receiver, sometimes in the form of a case attached to a mobile device or even built into the phone itself.
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- Inductive charging
- Transmitter and receiver create an electromagnetic field
Wireless charging is based on inductive charging, whereby power is created by passing an electrical current through two coils to create an electromagnetic field.
When the receiving magnetic plate on the mobile device comes into contact with the transmitter – or at least within the specified range – the magnetic field generates an electrical current within the device.
This current is then converted into direct current (DC), which in turn charges the built-in battery.
- Qi and Powermat
- Qi adopted by majority of smartphone manufacturers
- Powermat less recognized
There are a few standards floating around. The main one that you will most likely have heard of is Qi (pronounced “Chee”). Qi is a standard that has been developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) for inductive charging over distances of up to 40mm.
Qi has three separate power specifications, beginning with low power, which can deliver up to 5W and is primarily used for charging mobile devices and smartwatches.
There is a medium power spec, which can deliver up to 120W and is used for monitors and laptops. And there is a high spec that can deliver up to 1kW to power things such as kitchen utensils.
Qi wireless charging has been adopted by many of the major smartphone manufacturers: Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC, Huawei, Nokia, Motorola, and Blackberry.
The other standard that has the potential to steal the limelight from Qi is PMA or Powermat. It too works on inductive charging, but in 2014, PMA signed a deal with another wireless charging consortium, the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). It works on magnetic resonance charging instead. The deal means the two companies can exchange technologies and patents, to help evolve wireless charging at a much faster rate.
What phones support wireless charging?
The majority of the phones only supports Qi wireless charging. However, some, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, along with the Blackberry Priv, support both Qi and PMA standards. They both have the technologies built into their chassis too.
These are the other major phones that have built-in support for Qi charging:
- Asus Padfone S
- BlackBerry Z30
- Google Nexus 4
- Google Nexus 5
- Google Nexus 6
- Google Nexus 7
- LG Optimus G Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Note 5
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Active
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S9
- Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S
- Sony Xperia Z3V
- Sony Xperia Z4V
- Microsoft Lumia 950
- Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
- Motorola Droid Maxx
- Motorola Droid Mini
- Motorola Droid Turbo
- Motorola Droid Turbo 2
- Motorola Moto X Force
- Nokia Lumia 735
- Nokia Lumia 830
- Nokia Lumia 920
- Nokia Lumia 928
- Nokia Lumia 929 / Icon
- Nokia Lumia 930
- Nokia Lumia 1520
- Cases and adapters available for the majority of phones
You’ll notice that not many recent phones actually have the technology built-in, most of them require an adapter or a case to be attached in order to support Qi charging.
Just some of the phones that support a wireless charging adapter include:
- HTC 10
- LG G5
- LG G6
- Samsung Galaxy S5 – an internal adapter that is fitted inside the phone, behind the battery cover.
- Samsung Galaxy S4
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- Sony Xperia Z3
- Sony Xperia Z2
- Sony Xperia Z
There are now products on the market that plug into the charging port of your phone – Micro USB, Mini USB, USB Type-C, and Lightning are all supported – and a thin plate slips between the back of your phone and a regular case. This plate receives a current from Qi charging pads to wirelessly charge your phone.
- Support available via cases and adapters for most phones
- iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X come with the technology built-in
Apple was late to the party when it comes to finally integrating wireless charging, but that means the iPhone people have the opportunity to catch up. Apple has adopted wireless charging for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and flagship iPhone X Edition.
Also, Apple is prepared to dive headlong into wireless charging via its new “Airpower wireless charging” this year. It will not only work with the latest iPhones but the Watch and AirPods when matched with an optional wireless charging case. The phones will also work with conventional Qi charging mats.
You can also bring wireless charging to some iPhone models with a Qi charging adapter. They include:
- Apple iPhone 5s
- Apple iPhone 6
- Apple iPhone 6 Plus
- Apple iPhone 6s
- Apple iPhone 6s Plus
- Apple iPhone 7
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Apple also supports wireless inductive charging with the Apple Watch, it’s just not the Qi standard. Charging an Apple Watch requires a MagSafe charging cable, which attaches itself to the rear side of the watch face.
If you have any of the phones listed above, you need to get a wireless charger